The NY Jets defense is set to feel the impact of C.J. Mosley’s absence in 2020.
They had just added an offensive-minded head coach who was expected to help their young quarterback grow into the star fans want him to be. The team was receiving an exciting rebrand complete with a new logo and fresh uniforms.
The future looked bright.
Now jump to more than a year later in the summer of 2020. The team is coming off a year plagued by sickness and injury that left them depleted for most of a season that turned out not to be nearly as bad as it could have been, but still not what fans wanted it to be.
On top of that, the world has been shut down due to a global pandemic, and fans have ridden a roller coaster with their star players.
Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams has been traded for a plethora of picks and now Mosley has opted out of the 2020 season due to health concerns regarding the pandemic.
But who can blame him? This is a scary thing that is happening to the world and Mosley is putting himself and his family above football. Nobody can say a word against that.
Yet still, after a season where Mosley only played two games due to an injury, Jets fans were excited to see him back on the field. So without their star and leader, where does this leave the Jets linebacker corps and defense as a whole?
How will the NY Jets’ defense look with the absence of C.J. Mosley?
Well, it’s actually not as bad as one might think. Yes, Mosley is a star. In his few appearances in green and white, he impressed, particularly against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Yet the Jets’ defense was still one of the best against the run last year without him.
The Jets’ defense under Gregg Williams allowed 5,170 yards last year — good for sixth-best in the NFL. The unit allowed just 1,391 yards on the ground which was the second-best in the league.
Overall, these numbers look very good considering that Mosley is one of the best run-stoppers in the league and they put up these numbers without him.
Still, the Jets were looking for increased production from Mosley to make up for the loss of Jamal Adams. But there is still promise. The Jets will be getting Avery Williamson back from a year-long injury and they also added Patrick Onwuasor, a former teammate of Mosley’s in Baltimore.
The linebacker corps is very deep, including Blake Cashman and James Burgess, who saw a good amount of playing time last season due to Williamson and Mosley’s absence. While these names aren’t too exciting, they will get the job done.
Williamson will be key this year. The talk after the Jamal Adams trade was about how Mosley and Williamson would need to step up in his absence. For Williamson, this is truer than ever with Mosley out of the picture this year.
Williamson had a total of 120 tackles in his only season with the Jets. He managed to excel as both a run defender and in pass-coverage — something the Jets will need to see from him in 2020.
The rest of the linebacker corps will need to step up, and with a defensive coordinator as good as Gregg Williams, Gang Green’s defense should be in decent shape for this season.
Overall, the Jets defense will not take a step back from last season, but due to their losses, they also shouldn’t be expected to take a step forward.